Learning to use a graphics tablet


So I recently received a lovely pressie, a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet.

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

I set off eagerly on my new-style drawing journey, using a wonderful program, Serif Draw Plus x6, only to discover I was totally crap at using a graphics tablet.  What makes it really difficult is that you have to get used to drawing on a tablet on your lap or table in front of you whilst looking straight at the computer or (in my case) the laptop screen.  It’s kind of like typing without looking at your fingers.  It’s possible, it takes time to learn and get used to and your brain is constantly fighting this unnatural thing you’re forcing it to do.  Well, I am not one for giving up – ever – so I persevered until I really had the hang of it so now it’s okay.

The first thing I wanted to do using this graphics tablet was create images of my characters for the novel I am currently writing (not the Victorian one, no this is a different one and its taking over my life – yes one of those) but after drawing this:

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze
Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

And this:

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

I realised I need some lessons.  Yes it looks like a face, has all the correct features in the correct places but looks just like what it is: a drawing.  I want my ‘people’ to look a little more real.  Unfortunately I cannot afford art lessons at this point in time.  I will go, eventually, but I can be impatient and I want to be able to draw faces properly NOW.  I can do landscapes.  I can do buildings.  Below is a room I did with the tablet, not too bad:

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

but I cannot draw faces, whether on paper or on the tablet.  they always look like simple sketches.  So I turned to Google for help and, surprisingly, there are loads of pages that show step by step drawing techniques and there are even plenty of videos.  I like those as you can see the drawing take shape in real-time but can also pause when you need to and go back if necessary!

The first face I did after studying some Google pages was this:

Copyright ©130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright ©130214 by Karen Payze

Then this one:

Copyright ©130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright ©130214 by Karen Payze

Better but still nowhere near good enough.  So I figured I would try learning the individual parts of the face, which may help me in creating a full, non-cartoon, non-simplified face.  Below is what I have done so far.  I am most proud of the eye.  I find lips and noses particularly trying and have attempted a few different methods.  I havent reached ears yet.  But I think, with a lot of practice, I will get it eventually.

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

I must say that although certain things are far easier with the graphics tablet, like shading (you can do it in one quick stroke of the pen instead of hours of hand-breaking shading), it can also get frustrating when the shading isn’t quite as you would have done it by hand – and the erase tool on draw plus is absolute rubbish!  It is at those times I wish I had a pencil and eraser in my hand 🙂  But, on the whole, I really like the graphics tablet.  And, what is probably the most important aspect for me, I have started drawing again.  And it is the tablet that has reignited that passion for drawing.

What do you think about graphics tablets (if you are someone who enjoys drawing)?  Do you like them?  Are they too limiting or do they open up a whole new world for you?  Let me know in the comments below.

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

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10 Comments

  1. You certainly have taken some giant steps since the beginning! I don’t plan ever to acquire such a tablet, but I do intend to return to my painting in a few months (after being dormant for years!). Noses and lips have always given me a problem as well. That’s why I stick to impressionistic landscapes with impressionistic people. : )

    • Thanks 🙂 will have to keep trying but had to have a break as I was starting to dream about shading haha! Good luck with your painting, when you do start again x

      • Thanks, I’ll need it. You know, they say that if you dream in a foreign language that you’re studying, you are starting to master it. I remember when I first began writing dialog in my stories, I kept seeing quotation marks around what people said out loud to me. LOL!

        • Hahaha! I can actually picture the quotation marks 🙂 Have you ever seen the movie Stranger than Fiction? The dialog bit actually reminded me of that movie when he can hear what she is narrating about him. Very funny 😀

          • Never saw that one, but it sounds like something I’d like.

  2. Just keep swimming …….. Practice makes perfect 😃

    • Thanks I will 😀 thanks for visiting, hope you are well x

  3. I thought I could draw until I bought a art tablet. I was so frustrated with the thing I stopped trying. I think you’ve done wonderfully. I couldn’t manage to put down anything I imagined. I like things that are more basic and simple.

    I finally found Paint.net a free program and that has helped some. At least now I can make an okay button. 🙂

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    • Thanks it is quite hard. I just completed another. My first face since attempting to draw them correctly. Will post it in a bit 🙂 it kills my hand and wrist, for some reason I feel I must hold it extra tight!

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